Monday, November 4, 2013

Όταν ακόμα και οι New York Times μιλούν για υποχώρηση της Αμερικής...

Πριν δύο εβδομάδες είχαμε αναρτήσει ένα άρθρο για την αποτυχία των ΗΠΑ να προσαρτήσουν τη Γεωργία και την Ουκρανία στο ΝΑΤΟ, περικυκλώνοντας τη Ρωσία, η οποία αντέδρασε αποφασιστικά και τους "έκοψε τη φόρα".

Σήμερα, στην πρώτη σελίδα των New York Times φιγουράρει ένα άρθρο που εξηγεί την υποχώρηση των ΗΠΑ στην περιοχή της Ασίας, που ακυρώνει τα σχέδια των Μπρεζίντσι, Κίσσινγκερ, κτλ για περικύκλωση της Ρωσίας (και άρα απόλυτης κυριαρχίας των Αμερικάνων). Μάλιστα η αφορμή για την οποία γράφτηκε το άρθρο είναι η επίσημη απόφαση των ΗΠΑ να εγκαταλείψουν και τη στρατιωτική τους βάση στο Κιργιστάν, και να υποχωρήσουν...στη Ρουμανία.

Αναδημοσιεύουμε το άρθρο των New York Times, χωρίς παραπάνω σχολιασμό (μιας και είμαι στη δουλειά και απλά κάνω ένα γρήγορο διάλειμμα):

U.S. Checked in Central Asia
The Pentagon quietly announced last month that the U.S. military is leaving the air base it has operated in Kyrgyzstan as a staging area for American troops and matériel since 2001. While the move will complicate American efforts to wind down the war in Afghanistan, the decision has much broader ramifications: It marks the end of a brief experiment to extend American power and influence into the distant strategic arena of Central Asia. 

The base, formally known as the Transit Center at Manas, is a key installation for the U.S. military, with about 1,500 American airmen processing all the troops going in and out of the Afghanistan theater and operating refueling aircraft. More than that, it is the largest manifestation of American power in Central Asia, the remote region that not long ago held an almost mystical attraction for policy makers. 

In the 1990s, just after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Zbigniew Brzezinski described Central Asia as “the grand chessboard” on which the United States had to play if it were to maintain global supremacy. Henry Kissinger called for the creation of a pro-Western “buffer zone” in the region separating Russia and China.

The farthest Washington advanced on this chessboard was when, in the late 1990s, it pushed for the construction of pipelines leading from the Caspian Sea through Georgia and Turkey, for the first time breaking Russia’s monopoly on the region’s rich oil and natural gas reserves. But after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, long-term strategic goals for Central Asia were abandoned in favor of short-term military expediency. The United States set up air bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and ground logistics routes through the entire region. 

Although this worked out as well as it could have for the effort in Afghanistan, it meant that nearly all the diplomatic energy Washington put into the region went toward ensuring military access. This priority meant that Central Asian leaders always had the upper hand in negotiations about anything else Washington might want to do there. Central Asian autocrats could end American military access on a whim — which Uzbekistan did in 2005 when it ordered the Americans to leave the Karshi-Khanabad Air Base in retaliation after Washington called for an investigation of human rights violations. 

Meanwhile, over the past decade, Russia and China became much more active in Central Asia. The Kremlin is strenuously opposed to the American military’s presence in what it sees as its sphere of influence and has signed long-term agreements to maintain military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

While none of the Central Asian countries want to be dominated by Russia, none believe that the United States can be a true counterweight to Kremlin pressure. Instead, China appears to be taking that role, dramatically increasing its economic activity across the region over the past few years, arranging several massive oil and gas deals. 
Washington delayed formally announcing its departure, apparently until it found another facility, which officials say will be in Romania. 

The move to Romania is suggestive, too, of a strategic retreat Westward. The edge of the Black Sea is the farthest east that NATO has been able to advance. Romania and Bulgaria are both members of the European Union and the Atlantic alliance. The future of the countries farther east on the Black Sea, notably Ukraine and Georgia, may still be up for grabs. But Central Asia now appears to have been a bridge too far.

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